UN Water highlighted that billions of people around the world still lack safe water, sanitation and handwashing facilities. An estimated 63 per cent of the West Asia and North Africa (WANA) region still lack safely managed sanitation facilities, which include the unsafe disposal of human faeces in open fields, bodies of water or with solid waste. With much of the wastewater left untreated, water pollution, hygiene, health and more importantly water availability region wide is under threat.
There is a growing consensus that these challenges are not widely known and are not taking the interest of regional media. Media now-a-days are more so concentrating on war and conflict in the region, and by passing other regional and national challenges which include water scarcity, sanitation and hygiene.
Phase 1: Lebanon and Jordan
The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) West Asia and North Africa (WANA) Chapter is looking to further connect with and engage regional journalists in taking an interest in writing stories about SDG6 and sanitation challenges in the region, which will hence play a role in increasing the social and political awareness about water and sustainable sanitation.
5 journalists from Jordan and Lebanon have been chosen to take part in this initiative. The Journalists (with different backgrounds) writing in three languages (English, French, Arabic) have taken part in a 3-day workshop in Amman, Jordan about recent sanitation and SDG6 challenges in the two countries. The interactive workshop has enabled them to choose one pressing topic (from Jordan and Lebanon) to write a report. Journalists from Jordan will only be allowed to choose an issue from Lebanon, and vice versa. This method will allow the journalists to engage and help one another within their respective countries, further removing cultural and social challenges in writing about the challenge.
Phase 2: Northern Iraq (KRI) and Lebanon
Together with the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA) and CEWAS Middle East, The Center for Entrepreneurship in Water and Sanitation unify efforts to offer the Water and Sanitation Journalism Learning and Exposure Program in KRI and Lebanon. This initiative, supported by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ) and the Swiss Agency for the Development and Cooperation (SDC), seeks to:
Enable journalists to report on key water challenges in a way that encourages more sustainable water management as a means of conflict prevention and enhancing the quality of life.
At the end of the learning and exposure program, participants can count on the knowledge, skills and mind-set to:
- Understand and analyse the complexity of the water and sanitation sector, identifying the underlying reasons for water and sanitation-related challenges, as well as the consequences.
- Proactively contribute in shedding light on the water and sanitation crisis, its causes, consequences and possible solutions, by actively assuming their roles as water journalists.
- Communicate to each target audience the right message, using the right format, based on their needs, interests and the role they play in the water and sanitation sector.
- Inform the different audience about water and sanitation issues through constructive news.
Furthermore, the program has the strategic objective of bridging the gap between the water and sanitation sector actors and journalism/communication actors. Based on the learnings and exchanges, participants will prepare and submit a media piece (article, blog entry, social media campaign, video, etc.), which will compete for “The Open Eye Award”.